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Community mourns the loss of Plymouth Whitemarsh senior Denise Cotteta, 17, a ‘princess’

Friday, 2nd April 2010

Categories Features, Girl's/Women's, High School  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 4/2/10

Denise Cotteta

The community is mourning the loss of Denise Cotteta, a popular senior member of the Plymouth Whitemarsh lacrosse team who was killed after being struck by a car late Sunday night in front of the high school on Germantown Pike in Whitemarsh Township.

PW lacrosse coach Ellen Reilly said Denise, 17, of Plymouth Township was “was fun and always would have a smile on her face.” Denise also played field hockey under Reilly and was that team’s captain.

“She was always very responsible in my eyes,” Reilly said. “All I had to do was call and ask her to do something and I didn’t have to worry because I knew she would follow through with it.

“We played winter league games and I would tell Denise that our game was at 2 o’clock and to make sure we have enough people. I would get to the game and Denise would have everybody there.”

Police said Denise was struck around 11:30 p.m. Sunday while trying to cross East Germantown Pike near Mayflower Road in Whitemarsh Township. Denise died shortly after the accident.

The driver of the vehicle did not immediate stop, but has been cooperating with police. The accident remains under investigation.

The viewing will be held Monday and the funeral is Tuesday (see obituary below).

Reilly had to postpone lacrosse games scheduled for this past Monday and Tuesday. The team came back to practice Wednesday and it was most difficult for the players to return to the field.

“We are playing a game Monday at home against Pottstown (3:30 p.m.) and right after the varsity game we’re going to the viewing,” Reilly said. “We’ll go to the funeral Tuesday morning.

“I think we need to start to push forward. She would want it for us. We need some semblance of discipline; the girls are struggling. They had a hard time. We practiced yesterday (Thursday) and the day before. The first day was the hardest, walking on the field and stretching with her not being there.”

Reilly said nothing could typify Denise’s love of people more than what she did in the past few weeks to help others that could not afford attending the Plymouth Whitemarsh senior trip to Disney World (April 7-13). Denise had asked her mother if it was okay to use her own money to pay the cost of the trip – a $600 price tag – for another friend to go.

Now, after her loss, Denise’s mother, Sandy, has created the Denise Cotteta Senior Trip Fund to raise money for others that cannot attend the trip. In fact, they are using Denise’s $600 trip fee to get the fund started.

“One of the things Denise was so excited about was the trip,” said Reilly. “Her parents have been so awesome in dealing with this. Her mother said she would not take a refund for Denise. Denise would have wanted the money to go to someone who could not pay the fee.”

Reilly said Denise was a big supporter of the PW boys’ basketball team, which recently won the state title. The team is to be honored soon by the Sixers at the Wachovia Center and the Sixers plan to donate $5 for each ticket sold to a Colonials supporter to the Trip Fund. Also, Reilly said the team plans to make this year’s team t-shirts in honor of Denise and her No. 3, with proceeds going to the fund.

“Denise always looked nice and had her hair nice and we would tease her off the field about how she was a princess,” Reilly said. “When she was on the field, she was a different person. Sometimes, I would say to Denise, ‘Where did that come from?’

“She could be so aggressive and tough, and that wasn’t her normal demeanor off the field.”

Denise Marie Cotteta, age 17, of Plymouth Meeting, PA died tragically when struck by an automobile late in the evening on March 28, 2010.

She was born on June 11, 1992 in Bryn Mawr, PA.

Denise was a beautiful, vibrant, fun-loving senior attending Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. She was captain of the Varsity Field Hockey team and also played for the Varsity Lacrosse team. Denise loved Plymouth Whitemarsh and was proud of its recent basketball championship. She enjoyed attending school functions with her many friends. She certainly touched many peoples’ lives. Denise planned to attend Penn State University in the fall.

Denise is survived by her parents Joseph and Sandy (DeCarlo) Cotteta; brother AJ, age 14; her paternal grandparents, Salvatore and Barbara (Dempsey) Cotteta; and maternal grandparents, William and Antoinette (Gallo) DeCarlo. Other close family members include uncles and aunts: Dave and Barbara Ann Coccia, Dennis and Kathleen Wolfgang, and cousins David and Christine Coccia, and Lauren, Brooke and Kelsey Wolfgang.

The family will receive relatives and friends on Monday, April 5 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Tuesday, April 6 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Holy Saviour Church, 407 E. Main St., Norristown. Funeral Mass will follow at 10 a.m. Entombment St. Patrick’s Cemetery Mausoleum, Dekalb Pike, East Norriton.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Denise Cotteta Senior Trip Fund, c/o 129 Falcon Way, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462.

Funeral arrangements with the Caramenico Funeral Home, Inc., Main and Walnut Streets, Norristown 610-275-7777.



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